Monday, January 27, 2014

The Occasional Significance of Dreams

To my knowledge, dreams are utterly meaningless. They are not signs of things to come and they are not indicative of your character, they are simply random firings of your brain that translate into odd (and sometimes scary, fantastic, or arousing) experiences that you more than likely forget when you awaken. They are significant in the sense that they (theoretically) help your brain to reset, or perhaps to organize and make sense of your memories, but otherwise there's nothing significant about them.

Unless you, like myself, are a writer.

Though most of my dreams are complete rubbish and don't even follow any discernible single line of thought, occasionally one serves a greater purpose. Every once in a while a dream is just as significant as a real experience.

As a brief example: I recall a dream in which I was lined up, along with my family, for execution. Upon awaking from this dream (a hair before the trigger was pulled on me, and after hearing it pulled on my father, and feeling the dread of knowing that he was gone forever and that I was about to be banished to the same nothingness), though the experience was completely fabricated, the emotional impact it left me with was very real. That dream taught me to fear death, and I got to experience just how my mind would react to such a situation (terrified, confused, etc). In a very safe way it allowed me to experience something that nobody should ever have to experience (though I would dare not attempt to empathize with someone who really has gone through it).

Though that dream was more significant in the sense that it allowed me to experience emotions I've never experienced (and hopefully will never experience), occasionally I have a dream that simply tells a story. This happened to me a few nights ago, which is the first time in at least seven years that a dream has made enough sense to influence my writing.

When I awoke from this fantastic dream, I was eager to share it with my wife-to-be. It was exciting, it was unique, and it actually made sense! As the day progressed, the dream stayed with me. It was already quite an interesting idea, but it didn't yet fit into the frame of my style of writing. Luckily, as I pondered ways to make it fit, I recalled an unfinished idea I'd come up with years before, and by golly they fit together!

The dream and the idea not only complimented each other, but they fed each other! My thoughts began to run rampant with how the two ideas could coexist and what else that would mean for the story. More ideas came to me; building off of each other until I'd developed a stronger concept for a novel than I'd been able to come up with on my own for years!

It's absolutely exciting as a writer to be able to find use for something that is, for most people, nearly completely useless. It is even more exciting to know that inspiration can really come from anywhere, even deep within my own thoughts, in an area I cannot control.

My life influenced the dream, and the dream influenced me. It's like getting advice from myself!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 In Review

I did a review of my year last year, but the idea slipped my mind this past December, so I'm getting around to it now.

I suppose I'll start by seeing how I did on my list of hopes for 2013, which were as follows:
  • Firstly is that I graduate college and get a full-time job ASAP.
Well I graduated, and I got an internship pretty quickly which gives me 40 hours a week plus overtime, so I didn't do too shabby on that one.
  • Secondly is that I can continue to write at my current pace and release something substantial within the next two or three years (depending on the post-writing process).
I'd say I'm on track for writing at whatever pace I was referring to, since I make time to write several times a week, even if it's only for half an hour at a time. I don't know about releasing anything substantial in the next year or two, since my novel-writing is still a learning process, but I am working on releasing something shortly.
  • Thirdly is that I continue to get more and more readers on my blog, so show your friends!
Well I failed on this one, but I've also stopped caring about who reads my blog. I write it more for myself now as a sort of public journal and extension of my Facebook statuses.
  • Fourthly is that I read even more than this year!
I'd guess I've passed this one, but I don't exactly know the numbers to show it (aside from this post). Since getting a NOOK e-reader, I've done a LOT of reading, but I haven't really finished everything I've read. I'm in the middle of like five books right now, and I'll probably not return to one or two of them.
  • Oh yeah, and I want to lose weight by my next birthday. Progress has been admittedly slow in that area so far...
Good news, past Ryan! You may not have lost any weight by your 2013 birthday, but you certainly have for your 2014 birthday! You see, I'm proud to say that I lost 15 lbs in the span of a few months, and the funny thing is that the weight-loss was a side-effect of two unrelated motivating factors:
  1. I started taking half sandwiches to work because whole ones took too long to eat and make. Time is money.
  2. I started walking for half an hour a day (approximately 2 miles) because I needed to get out of the office, and some coworkers went on walks every day so I thought it'd be a good opportunity to meet people.
As far as my goals go, it was a good year. Obviously there are other things to consider, such as the stress of looking for a job, a place to live, and paying student loans. Overall I'd say that 2013 wasn't the best, because of a lot of personal issues and factors that I won't go into here so as to not depress you, but 2014 is looking up!

Most importantly, 2014 is the year I get married! It's been a long time coming, but the girl I met back in late 2007, started dating in early 2008, and got engaged to in 2011 is going to become my wife this coming June! It's nearly impossible that someone I met in high school still makes me fall in love with her over and over again, and still adores me as well, but we're still going strong after almost six years together! As much as each of us has grown and changed over the years, we've done it together!

Now that I'm officially in the "real world" as they say, I don't really know what else to expect from 2014, but here's a list of my goals and hopes for this new year:
  • Finally marry the love of my life
  • Continue to work on and hone my fiction writing, especially novel-writing. Perhaps finish "An Offbeat Affair"
  • Get hired full-time for real. With benefits, a salary, and all that other cool adult stuff
  • Continue to educate myself. College is over and I love learning!
  • Make time what I care about most; my fiancée, writing, friends, and the occasional video game
So cheers, and have a fantastic year!